Shelves
 
Johnny, twenty, initiated, working,
stacking his thoughts and cans of oxtail soup.
 
His uncle had a decent firm, a few years back,
a timber merchant. That could have been good.
 
(Fine footballer meanwhile, but local league.
Midfield, left-sided, dominating play.)
 
People can build a business up. Like carpenters
and roofers, hauliers, key-cutters.
 
(Private detective, footballer or spy.
An astronaut. A driver, Formula One.)
 
And part of him loves the Jenkins girl,
really can see a future, close-lived, warm
and understanding. Kids and football. Job.
Advancement, it would seem, within the firm.
 
And part of him (not just the astronaut, the star)
sees all that shifting down the narrow aisles,
the vision cramped, the world contracting back,
the firm’s shelf-sided future closing in.

Robert Nisbet is a poet from Pembrokeshire, whose one pamphlet is Merlin's Lane (Prolebooks, 2011). Hs poems have appeared in The North, Prole and The Frogmore Papers and widely in the USA.